Little Brown Job

Monday, April 27th, 2009

I skipped Moth Monday last week because, although I had a couple of good new moths, no one had ID’d them yet. A week later and they still haven’t been ID’d though, so maybe it’s time to post one here and see what folks think. This is from Mountain View Shoreline in Santa Clara County, just off the salt ponds, about 6:00 A.M.:

Brown striped moth on wall

One thing I like about moth photos is that even when a moth is very nondescript in nature, something the eye just passes over, look closer with the camera and it’s quite stunning. There are many little brown moths that we usually ignore but they’re worth a closer look.


Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Attempting to install Lord of the Rings Online for the first time on a fairly stock Vista system, and the installer fails while updating some Visual C++ runtime library. When are we going to learn that we should not depend on the latest versions of every single library? Software should simply not require users to upgrade their libraries. (I say this having just shipped a product that fails on Java 5 on the Mac but succeeds on Java 6, so I’m hardly blameless here. The bug is really Apple’s fault, but we should have worked around it. Update: looks like a colleague fixed that a few hours ago. Cool.)

However, the real WTF is this error message I got while the installer was updating the files:

An error occurred while installing Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package (X86). Please download and install 'Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package (X86' from ''

Naturally, I can’t copy and paste that URL. I’m supposed to type it into my web browser. More likely I just won’t play the game and try Warhammer instead.

The One-eyed Sphinx

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Moth Monday time again. This next moth is gorgeous and showy but has a really annoying habit of showing up on the shady side of buildings behind fences completely out of reach of my lens/flash combo Unless I set the ISO way too high. :-(

Smerinthus cerisyi – One-eyed Sphinx – Hodges#7822
Santiago Oaks Regional Park, 2009-04-11

#467 Black-chinned Hummingbird at Santiago Oaks

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

I’ve been visiting Santiago Oaks Regional Park about once a month for over a year now. There’ve been some good life birds there including Rock Wren and Lazuli Bunting, but two regulars have persistently eluded me: Black-chinned Sparrow and Black-chinned Hummingbird. Well, last Sunday April 5 on Linette Lina’s monthly walk we finally found a Black-chinned Hummingbird:


This is a tough one because it’s relatively quiet, and looks a lot like the more common Anna’s Hummingbird unless you see it in really good light. Plus it’s much more skittish of people than an Anna’s or an Allen’s. However it does tend to hover a little more than an Anna’s does, and this one was relatively cooperative.

Moth Monday: Emerald Geometer

Monday, April 6th, 2009

You may have noticed that most of the moths I post here range in color from gray to brown so you’d think a pure green moth would be fairly easy to identify, but it turns out there are quite a few of these. Tentatively this has been identified as Dichorda illustraria – Hodges # 7055:

Santiago Oaks, 2009-04-05